Media Relations: media commentary and criticism

Thursday, September 15, 2011

things comickal

-- things comickal -- oh, DC ... the stupid, it just keeps coming

First, they give us Darkseid as the new Justice League's first villain, in what's clearly going to be an unspeakably decompressed story arc (Wonder Woman isn't scheduled to show up until issue 3, and Victor is still an unCyborged teen). And now this.

Parting Shot: The Full-Figured Amanda Waller Now Skinny in DC Comics Relaunch WTF - ComicsAlliance
Laura Hudson
Sep 14th 2011

In the newly released Suicide Squad #1, out today, you might notice something very different about the Squad's tough-as-nails leader Amanda Waller: Formerly one of the rarest breeds in the DC Universe -- a full-figured lady -- "The Wall" has apparently transformed into "The Rail," adopting the same interchangeable hourglass figure and 22-inch waist as pretty much every other superheroine. I guess because there are no fat chicks allowed in the new DCU...

You know, it's not that I don't get it. It's very clear that the whole corporate "synergy" thing is going on. They figured that, as long as they were rebooting the universe anyway, they might as well bring characters in alignment with those that have been depicted in more popular media. Thus, Green Arrow's background and character design are shifted to match what he had in Smallville. Superman gets to be younger, for much the same reason. (Although also for others.) And Waller gets Bassettified.

It's quite clear that her new character design is taken from Angela Bassett, who portrayed her in the wildly successful Green Lantern film. (... wait, it wasn't wildly successful? But it's got a sequel green-lit already! They don't do that with flops, do they?) Of course, if they wanted to align comics and popular media, then Ryan Reynolds should never have been Green Lantern; after all, the most popular and well known depiction -- at least for those younger men that Warner was trying to go after with that film -- was John Stewart, from the Justice League and Justice League Unlimited television cartoons. Far more people saw those than read Green Lantern comics during the same time period. (A television show with an audience as small as that of the wildly well-selling Justice League #1 reboot comic book -- roughly 200,000, give or take -- would be cancelled after one airing, even on Cartoon Network, which has much smaller audiences than a broadcast network.) And I love Angela Bassett, who reportedly played the hell out of Waller in that film -- allowing that it seemed that she didn't have a lot to do. (I pretty much intensely dislike Hal Jordan, so you would in fact have to pay me to see Green Lantern in any form. In fact, one of the few redeeming lights of Justice League #1 is that Hal looks like an idiot pretty much all the way through ... although, honestly, that's fairly problematic for the storytelling. But I digress.)

But this isn't the sort of thing that's going to lend confidence to the reboot. DC says it wants more women readers, but I can't imagine this will attract them. DC will undoubtedly say that Waller is a minor character in this universe, and that it's a blowup over someone who doesn't have that huge an impact overall, and that's true as far as it goes. But ... she's not a minor character in this title. She runs the department that oversees Suicide Squad, after all.

No doubt the reaction of the overall comics audience will be to just shrug it off and move on. After all, the people who aren't reading Suicide Squad have already had an eyeful of that title's attitude to redesigning its women, right there on the cover. (And I've heard a startling number of otherwise devoted fanboys say they were actually turned off by the Harley Quinn redesign.) So it's not as though this is any sort of huge surprise.

But still, DC, you really should have known better. And you should have done better.

Questions, Comments, etc.?

Posted by iain at 12:45 PM in category things comickal